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Printing of miniatures

Hi! Today’s post is about 3D printing of our miniatures. We’ve already written about the process of character creation, 2D and 3D modeling, so today we’ll talk only about printing the physical incarnations of Legends of Signum characters.

Initially, we cast the miniatures in molds. It was in 2015, and at that time this technology was relevant. At that time, master models for casting were molded by hand (we could get nostalgic for the “good old days” here, but we won’t do that). Later, we got our first 3D printer, and we started using it to create master models. By 2020, there were more printers, and the processes were optimized and fine-tuned to such an extent that 3D printing became the main (but still not the only) way to produce miniatures. As practice has shown, this shift in technology has provided two major benefits:

  1. The appearance and quality of the miniatures have been improved. If you’ve ever glued a miniature together from parts, you know how hard it is to make the glue spots not be visible. Printed miniatures don’t have that problem, they immediately look amazing;
  2. Miniatures are no longer in need of gluing. So you no longer have to spend a lot of time and effort to assemble a whole figure from separate parts, and then to make it look good – trim it, sand it, and smooth it out.

Now let’s talk more about the technologies and materials we use. Now we have different printers from different brands and the main factor in our choice was the quality of printing. The total printing time per day can be 16-17 hours.

We chose the resin for printing for quite a long time. We did not want to take whatever material, and looked closely at the color, consistency and other parameters. By trial and error, we came to the very brands of resins that are recommended by printer manufacturers, that is, expensive and high-quality materials characterized by increased durability of finished products. It turned out that these resins perfectly fit our requirements. Nevertheless, sometimes we experiment with other brands. For this purpose, our specialists reconfigure the printer and make tests. Many, many tests. As a result, we learn something new about the ability of a particular printer to work with a particular material.And finally, about how the printing process takes place. It has several stages:

  1. Laying out the supports. These are “scaffolds”, thin strips or tubes of material which support the elements of the miniature during the printing process. When the printing is finished, the supports are cut off;
  2. Printing itself. Takes more than one hour and requires constant monitoring and control by a specialist;
  3. Drying. It is carried out in an ultraviolet bath and is done to make the finished figures more durable. The process takes many hours, but the end result is a beautiful and damage-resistant miniature.

When the printing is finished, the supports are cut off and the roughness is smoothed out, we send the figurine to the warehouse. There it is packaged, and then it waits to fall into the hands of its lucky owner and take its place on the battlefield in the war for Signum.

P.S. You can read the post about how the visual image of the future miniature is created here, and about the specifics of painting here.

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